Dairy, Sugar and Gluten, Oh My!

I’ve written a couple of Phood posts already, and when choosing which one I wanted to start with, I thought this one was the best in terms of introduction. I know I quickly went over this in my Food description, but instead of leaving you with the short version of the long story, I thought I would give you the long version of the long story. So get ready to hear what everyone I eat with has to hear every single time we eat. 


The way I eat is related to hormones. I have had bad (terrible*) skin since I was about 12 (I’m 19, almost 20). Having shit skin is the worst, but I had just become so used to it, I had just accepted it. But there came a point where that was it, I was sick of it, I wanted nice skin. There was something about basically being an adult with acne that made me want to sort my life out more than ever before. I knew it was down to my diet, it was something in my diet that was messing up my body, it wasn’t puberty because that had come and gone. So the first thing I did was get a blood test.


If you know me, you’ll know I hate HATE HATE(!) blood tests, but I seem to be getting them all the time. And either everything is relatively normal, or everything is upside down messy. This time everything seemed relatively normal except for low iron and low vitamin D (funny that, I just moved to London…). I started taking more care of what I was eating to make sure I was getting all the necessary nutrients and taking my vitamins. And then I went to see a nutritionist to see what tf was going on and how I could manage it through diet. Within minutes of me walking in she pretty much told me to cut dairy out of my diet, something I had been told for years but never wanted to actually do. But when she told me, I decided ok this is it, I’ve just got to do it. And I did, after I left her office I pretty much cut dairy out completely, I say pretty much because I have given in a couple of times, more so when I was with other people or at home with my family and that kind of food is around. And I know this is a basic thing to point out but surprisingly people ask me about this all the time, eggs are not dairy. I still eat eggs.


My skin cleared up A LOT, it was the most clear I had seen it in years. The only thing now was the puffiness in my face. This seemed like a reaction to something I was eating as well. I would notice after I would eat certain foods I would get really puffy and really tired. Tired to the point where I could sleep on the spot. So again I had to monitor everything I was eating, and see how everything would make me feel. From this I noticed one thing, every time I ate pasta I would feel that way, every time I had cookies I would feel that way, every time I had bread I would feel that way. I would puff up and be exhausted. I had to look at what all these foods had in common and the one thing that stood out, was gluten. So I tried it, I cut gluten out of my diet. Again, the puffiness subsided and I started feeling like I could be awake the whole day. 


I didn’t find cutting these foods out of my diet very hard when I was on my own in London because I was buying all my food. So my fridge was full of stuff I knew I could eat, my cupboard had stuff I knew I could eat, so I never really felt like I was limiting myself. In fact I would make sure I had alternatives to the foods I loved so that I wouldn’t find it as hard. For example, Dairy Milk Buttons were my absolute weakness but I found dark chocolate buttons. So I made sure I had those, that way when I was craving milk buttons I had something to replace them (and I’m not going to lie but I really overdid those). But now that I’m at home with my family, it’s a lot harder because the whole kitchen is full of stuff I can’t eat. But my mum is very good at making sure I have lots of stuff I can eat which is nice because you don’t feel left out. 


Because I have restricted the amount of dairy and gluten I eat by about 90%, my body now reacts to it much more. Or maybe that’s just because I’m aware of it now. So my skin still isn’t completely clear, nor is my puffiness completely gone, but it’s getting there, as time goes on it is getting easier to forget about the foods I can’t eat and focus on the foods I can eat. Every time I think I want to cave in and have some chocolate or a piece of cake, I just have to remember that no cake is worth having bad skin and puffiness for. 


The last thing I know I react to, but I don’t think I will ever be able to completely give up is sugar. And not just the sugar you put in your tea, but the sugar you find in fruit, the sugar you find in sweets, that stuff. This has a similar effect as dairy and gluten on my body but my will power is not strong enough just yet to give up sugar. But maybe after the gluten and dairy free eating becomes easier, it could be something I try. For now, I don’t think I could give up another food group. But when I do, I’ll be sure to write a post about how I made the impossible possible.


I think I need to put this in here: I make jokes that the way I eat is annoying and all that but ultimately I know it is what’s best for me. And I want to make that clear as well, this is just what works for me. It might work for you, it might not. Nevertheless, I may bitch and moan but I do see the changes and I do think they outweigh the want to eat dairy and gluten. 


On top of my gluten free, dairy free life, I also don’t eat meat.


I say I don’t eat meat, that’s a lie, I’m pescatarian. But even then, I’m not much of a fish eater, only really when I’m out at a restaurant and the green salad doesn’t sound like a proper meal. When I’m cooking for myself my diet is 90% plant based (I still eat eggs). 


When I stopped eating meat about three years ago, I got loads of shit for it. Most people would only give me shit because they thought I would turn around and start lecturing them about the slaughtering of animals but to be really honest that had nothing to do with my decision to stop eating meat. For me, it had a lot to do with the large amounts of hormones that would be pumped into the animals and I already had enough hormone imbalances as it was (and still is). I haven’t really noticed much of a difference in how I feel or anything but I have started to shift my opinion on eating meat. 


Over the time that I haven’t been eating meat, I have become more aware of the ethical issues surrounding the meat industry. And I still wouldn’t say I have anything against anyone who eats meat, but I could never see myself eating meat again. If I’m not dead from not eating meat, I don’t think anything should die so I could eat it – if that makes any sense.


Because this was a decision I made, people ask me why I don’t just start eating meat again because it’s already quite tough not eating dairy or gluten. And the reason I don’tis because of what I just said - it was MY decision. No one told me I couldn’t eat meat, I decided that one my own. So even though I can’t eat dairy or gluten (unless I want to look like a spotty puffer fish), I know I am in control of my decision to not eat meat. 


I had a completely different post I was going to upload first, but I felt this was a necessary explanation to why I eat the way I do and so if you are not interested in these kinds of foods, you will not be too interested in this section which is cool. My next post will be a bit more phun (ayyyy).